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Decyfer Down Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Decyfer Down lyrics)
Decyfer Down Biography
Lifting mattresses and spraying bugs is good, honest work. But those aren't the gigs that keep hard rockers motivated over the long term (even if they are grateful for work that supports families and musical dreams). Now those efforts will go toward the hard work this new rock band will face head-on, as they hit the road, leaving their North Carolina-base and welcome the opportunity to partner with S/R/E Recordings and release their debut, End of Grey, a surefire source of melodic hard rock that unabashedly stands on the side of truth.
The roots of Decyfer Down go back to more of an acoustic outfit than a rock band. Drummer Josh Oliver and guitarist Brandon Mills started the band at a time when each simply needed to renew his life in God. For Oliver, it was a case of being burned by religion, while for Mills, it was a time to surrender a life of parties and drugs and return to his faith. "We were just trying to crawl our way back into a deeper understanding of God'" for him to heal the wounds we had in our own personal lives," says Oliver. "The music began to change and evolve as our walk with God did," as underneath the acoustic surface their love of rock music began to take over.
"I always loved rock music; that's where I came from," says Mills. "But when I went through that drug stuff, I pawned everything. The only thing I could afford to get out of the pawnshop was an acoustic. As the years progressed, I felt God was giving me the opportunity to get back to what I loved, to start over. I couldn't have handled getting back to the rock lifestyle before then."
Eventually, Oliver's brother Caleb joined the band. "When it became Caleb, Brandon and me, we were more confident spiritually and had good support around us. God was doing amazing things and we knew he called us to do this type of work. We did seem to hit a ceiling though," says Josh. "Then all the sudden Chris came into the picture and it was a whole new beginning. God took us from that broken, renewal atmosphere to approaching people boldly with the truth.
The addition of metal-driven guitarist Chris Clonts with Caleb Oliver moving out front as vocalist and bass player was the birth of a new band. It gave the band a new sound and purpose. The band found itself playing with mainstream rockers like Cold, Puddle of Mudd, Breaking Benjamin, Theory of a Dead Man, Smile Empty Soul, Authority Zero, Crossfade and Adema. New audiences, a new identity and a bolder sound made for the right time for a new band name. "I kid you not' - I opened the dictionary and there's the word decipher," Clonts says. "We have three pages of names and I open the dictionary and find this word."
Decipher means "to interpret," and the moniker Decyfer Down fit perfectly, as the band aimed to interpret truth based on God's Word while stripping it down from religious traditions and terms. States Josh, "We're simply out to give a positive message of hope that has truth streaming all the way down the middle of it."
Its focus made clearer, Decyfer Down resolved to be black and white about truth and captured the confusing parts of their pasts in an album of songs appropriately titled End of Grey. "The album represents the places we've been and struggles we've gone through, and interprets that," says Caleb, the band's primary lyricist. "All the songs go back to a theme of being real and honest, and not being ashamed of talking about the truth."
Passionate, powerful ideas are placed inside the thick, heavy rock of Decyfer Down. Intense meaning alongside the grooves and riffs certainly becomes cathartic to listeners and band alike. "The song 'No Longer' is almost therapy for me as I can tell myself that I don't need to worry any longer about things in the past that I'm not so proud of," Caleb notes.
A common theme in Decyfer Down's music is one of crying out and fighting to reach that place of overwhelming passion for God, as heard in "Bring Back the Sun" and "Life Again." One step to reaching that passion is found in killing one's own desires, and the band battles honestly with such struggles in "Break Free" and "Walking Dead." "We're supposed to be dead to ourselves and 'Walking Dead' talks about killing your own desires, intentions and self-nature, so that you can walk for that Person that brought you back to life," says Caleb.
The successes of Decyfer Down make the song "Vanity" timely and important to the band. "This song is self-checking. It's about not letting the things in our lives and career dictate how we're going to treat other people and how other people are going to treat us," says Caleb, "that we'll stay humble and remember what God has brought us out of. People on the outside looking at us might think, 'Oh, they got signed; they probably think they're untouchable, like rock stars.' Which is totally ridiculous because we're anything but."
A mission to reach people burned by religion leads Decyfer Down to play clubs, while its desire to provide churched kids with solid rock music with a genuine message keeps them on Christian stages as well. Band members would attest that it's only God's plan that could bring the band to this point in its career. "God gave us favor with rock deejays, national bands, the whole mainstream scene where we live. They know we're Christians. We don't act any different in any club than we do in any church," Clonts says. "People come up uninitiated and admit that they used to attend church. Mainstream bands know that we are believers and they embrace us."
"Their views of Jesus are pews and singing hymns and dressing a certain way," says Mills. "Then they see us and they know we're believers and that this is a God-driven band. They see us in a bar, not partying, but connecting with them anyways, and suddenly, their views of Jesus change." And it's times like these that Decyfer Down knows that it must be strong in its purpose'" living the truth of God while emitting solid rock music on whatever stage it finds itself.